WCHA Week 4: Top-Five Showdown This Weekend At Ridder Arena
No. 3/2 Minnesota Hosts No. 4 Minnesota Duluth In Marquee Matchup; No. 1 Wisconsin Visits No. 7 Clarkson In WCHA-ECAC Series
photo
No. 3/2 Minnesota Hosts No. 4 Minnesota Duluth In Marquee Matchup

Opening Face-Off

- Leading at the Polls: The women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) has an NCAA-best five teams ranked in the top-10 of the national opinion polls, comprising exactly half of both the USCHO.com and USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine rankings.

  • Defending WCHA champion Wisconsin remains on top of both rankings, while two-time defending national champion Minnesota is third in the USCHO.com poll and second in the USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine ledger.
  • With a 3-0-1 record that includes a win and tie over Boston College, Minnesota Duluth is up to No. 4 - the Bulldogs' highest ranking since holding the same spot October 31, 2011.
  • After splitting with the Gophers last weekend, Bemidji State makes its season debut at No. 8. North Dakota rounds out the quintet in the No. 10 spot.
  • A sixth WCHA school, Ohio State, is receiving votes in the USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine poll.

- Bulldog Country: Under second-year head coach Maura Crowell, UMD is 3-0-1 - the Bulldogs' best start since going 5-0-1 to open their 2007-08 national championship campaign. UMD is tied for the NCAA lead with 17 goals and a 4.25 goals-per-game average.

- The World's Game: Each of the first six WCHA Players of the Week have hailed from outside the United States, with four Canadians and a pair of Swiss earning accolades.

- 400 on the Horizon: Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson enters the weekend two victories shy of becoming just the third D-1 women's hockey bench boss (first in WCHA history) to reach the 400-victory plateau (Harvard's Katey Stone has 446 and Mercyhurst's Michael Sisti has 429). Now in his 14th season with the Badgers, the seven-time WCHA Coach of the Year is 398-75-36 (.817) in his illustrious career.

- Nonconference Success: WCHA teams enjoyed a stellar start to nonconference play two weekends ago, going 11-1-2 (.857) against College Hockey America (7-0-1), ECAC Hockey (2-0-0) and Hockey East (2-1-1).

  • The WCHA finished 35-8-2 (.800) in nonconference play in 2015-16, and is 211-59-21 (.761) this decade (beginning in 2010-11 and including NCAA tournament games).

By the Numbers

- 6a: Career short-handed goals scored by North Dakota senior Amy Menke, a program record. Menke surpassed Jocelyne Lamoureux's mark with the game-winning goal last Friday at St. Cloud State.

- 6b: WCHA teams in the top-10 nationally for fewest goals allowed per game: Wisconsin (first at 0.75); Bemidji State (tied for second at 1.00); Minnesota, North Dakota and Ohio State (all tied for fourth at 1.25) and Minnesota Duluth (tied for seventh at 1.50).

- 40: Wisconsin-record career shutouts for Badgers senior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens, just three shy of the NCAA record held by Minnesota's Noora Räty. She surpassed Jessie Vetter's standard with a 3-0 blanking of Ohio State last Friday.

- 148: NCAA-high saves (on 153 shots) in four games by Ohio State redshirt sophomore Kassidy Sauve, who also ranks third nationally with a .967 save percentage.


The Week Ahead

- No. 4 Minnesota Duluth at No. 3/2 Minnesota: Perhaps the marquee series in all of college hockey is the top-five showdown at Ridder Arena between the fourth-ranked Bulldogs and the No. 3/2 Gophers. Minnesota has won six-straight in the series and is currently on a 19-game unbeaten streak against the Bulldogs, going 18-0-1 dating back to a 3-0 win on Jan. 14, 2012.

- No. 1 Wisconsin at No. 7 Clarkson: 2016 Frozen Four participants clash in New York as the top-ranked Badgers face the seventh-ranked Golden Knights. UW, which is playing at Clarkson for the first time, holds a 21-game undefeated streak against ECAC opponents (dating to a March 19, 2005 loss to Dartmouth in the NCAA quarterfinals).

- Ohio State at No. 8 Bemidji State: The newly nationally-ranked Beavers stay on home ice to welcome the Buckeyes in what should be a matchup of terrific goaltending (BSU All-American Brittni Mowat and OSU's Kassidy Sauve, the nation's saves leader). Bemidji State won all four meetings last season.

- Minnesota State at No. 10 North Dakota: The 10th-ranked Fighting Hawks host their regular season home opener, welcoming the Mavericks to Ralph Engelstad Arena. North Dakota is 7-2-1 in the last 10 games against MSU.


The Week in Review

- The first full weekend of league play saw a bevy of fantastic games throughout the WCHA.

- In a series chock-full of terrific goaltending, top-ranked Wisconsin came away with five WCHA points against visiting Ohio State.

- In a tightly contested series between intra-state rivals, Minnesota won the opener 3-1, before host Bemidji State posted a 2-0 victory over the second-ranked Gophers in the finale.

- A pair of taut, one-goal games in St. Cloud saw both teams earn a win as both No. 7/6 North Dakota and the host Huskies earned three league points.

- Minnesota Duluth extended its season-opening unbeaten streak to four games - its best start since 2007-08 - with a sweep of visiting Minnesota State.

- Full recaps and box scores are available at wcha.com.


at No. 1 Wisconsin 3, Ohio State 0
at No. 1 Wisconsin 1, Ohio State 1 - OT (Wisconsin wins the shootout, 1-0)
(Oct. 7 and 8 at LaBahn Arena; Madison, Wis.)

In a series chock-full of terrific goaltending, top-ranked Wisconsin came away with five WCHA points against visiting Ohio State.

Friday night, Badgers' senior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens set a Wisconsin record with her 40th career shutout, making 15 saves in the 3-0 victory. On the offensive side, Emily Clark netted UW's first two goals, and then assisted on Jenny Ryan's third-period marker. Annie Pankowski set up Clark's first goal, giving the junior 104 career points - good for 20th in program history. Buckeye goaltender Kassidy Sauve ended the contest with 44 saves.

Saturday afternoon's game resulted in bonus hockey, as UW freshman Abby Roque netted a shootout goal (with Desbiens stopping all three OSU attempts) to give the Badgers the extra point. The Buckeyes got on the board first, with Julianna Iafallo putting one home midway through the second period. Sam Cogan forced overtime with a power-play goal with 1:54 remaining regulation - the only shot of 38 that the Badgers could get past Sauve.


No. 2 Minnesota 3, at Bemidji State 1
at Bemidji State 2, No. 2 Minnesota 0
(Oct. 7 and 8 at Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.)

In a tightly contested series between intra-state rivals, Minnesota won the opener 3-1, before host Bemidji State posted a 2-0 victory over the second-ranked Gophers in the finale.

Friday afternoon's series opener was scoreless through the first two periods, before Bemidji State's Lauren Miller found the back of the net six minutes into the final stanza. But, it didn't take long for Minnesota to rally, with Dani Cameranesi scoring the tying goal at the 8:05 mark and the go-ahead goal two minutes later to put the Gophers in front for good. Caitlin Reilly added an insurance goal, while Sidney Peters (16 saves) made the lead stand for a 3-1 Minnesota win.

Posting her 16th career shutout, Bemidji State senior goaltender Brittni Mowat stopped all 31 shots thrown on net by the Gophers to lead the Beavers to a 2-0 win in Saturday's series finale. Summer Thibodeau put BSU ahead with a first-period goal, and Mowat made 26 of her stops over the final two stanzas to hold onto the lead. Ciscely Nelson tallied an empty-net goal for the final 2-0 margin.


No. 7/6 North Dakota 1, at St. Cloud State 0
at St. Cloud State 3, No. 7/6 North Dakota 2
(Oct. 7 and 8 at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn.)

A pair of taut, one-goal games in St. Cloud saw both teams earn a win as both No. 7/6 North Dakota and the host Huskies earned three league points.

Special teams determined the outcome of Friday's game, as UND senior Amy Menke scored the game's only goal with her school-record sixth career short-handed marker. That score, at the 7:36 mark of the second period, was all the Fighting Hawks needed. UND turned back all five St. Cloud State power-play opportunities, while goaltender Lexie Shaw logged a 25-save shutout.

SCSU goaltender Janine Alder was the story Saturday night, as the freshman entered for an injured Taylor Crosby in the second period and stopped all 21 shots she faced as the Huskies rallied for a 3-2 win. Trailing 2-1 late into the second, Julia Tylke continued her torrid start with the game-tying goal. Just four minutes into the third period, Kelsey Saelens netted the game-winner. Freshman Annelise Rice (first career goal) and Jordan Hampton both scored for UND.


at Minnesota Duluth 4, Minnesota State 0
at Minnesota Duluth 5, Minnesota State 1
(Oct. 7 and 8 at AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn.)

Minnesota Duluth extended its season-opening unbeaten streak to four games - its best start since 2007-08 - with a sweep of visiting Minnesota State.

Friday night, the Bulldogs spread the action around on their way to a 4-0 victory. Jessica Healey got the Bulldogs on the board with a power-play goal late in the first period; however, the score remained 1-0 until the third. Katherine McGovern put one in the back of the net three minutes into the final stanza, starting a three-goal outburst that included scores by Katerina Mrázová and Jalyn Elmes (first career goal). Lara Stalder had a pair of assists for UMD, while goaltender Maddie Rooney made 22 saves for her third career shutout.

Stalder enjoyed an historic afternoon in a 5-1 UMD win Saturday, netting her third career hat trick, handing out an assist and reaching the career 100-point plateau. After the senior scored the game's first two goals, her assist on McGovern's second period goal made her the 20th Bulldog in program history to reach the century club. Catherine Daoust also scored for UMD, while Ashleigh Brykaliuk had a pair of assists. Minnesota State senior goaltender Brianna Quade finished the series with 62 saves.